Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rapp v. Department of Interior United States

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 17, 2019

TIMOTHY R. RAPP
v.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR UNITED STATES

         SECTION: “B” (1)

          ORDER AND REASONS

         Before the Court are defendant Ryan Zinke in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Interior's motion for summary judgment on wage-garnishment claim (Rec. Doc. 26), pro se plaintiff Timothy Rapp's response in opposition (Rec. Doc. 27), defendant's reply (Rec. Doc. 30), plaintiff's motion to extend deadlines for discovery and other case related court activities (Rec. Doc. 37), and plaintiff's motion to compel discovery[1] (Rec. Doc. 38). For the reasons discussed below, IT IS ORDERED that the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion to extend deadlines for discovery and other case related court activities is DENIED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion to compel is DENIED. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This is an employment discrimination case involving discriminatory discharge and discriminatory wage-garnishment. The Court previously ruled on plaintiff's discriminatory discharge claim, dismissing it as time barred. See Rec. Doc. 33. The instant motion for summary judgment concerns plaintiff's discriminatory wage-garnishment claim. See Rec. Doc. 26 at 1.

         Plaintiff is a former employee of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”). See id. He worked as a petroleum engineer in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”). See Rec. Doc. 16-3 at 1.

         Prior to starting employment with DOI, on October 18, 2013, plaintiff signed a relocation agreement stating that if plaintiff failed to remain in federal government service for a period of 12 months following the effective date of his transfer, unless separated for reasons beyond his control and acceptable by the DOI/BSEE, then his relocation expenses shall be recoverable as a debt to the United States. See Rec. Doc. 26-3 at 2. His employment with the DOI lasted from December 1, 2013 until November 4, 2014. See id. According to defendant, plaintiff's termination notice cited two instances of plaintiff's inappropriate workplace communications with co-workers. See id. Plaintiff states that one of the two instances never happened and is completely fraudulent. See Rec. Doc. 27-1 at 2.

         During plaintiff's exit clearance, DOI/BSEE noted plaintiff's failure to remain in federal employment for at least 12 months triggered a discrepancy in his agreement as well as a claim for recoupment of his relocation expenses. See Rec. Doc. 26-3 at 2. DOI/BSEE processed the claim for recoupment against plaintiff. See id. Plaintiff filed an objection. See id. DOI/BSEE sustained the collection action. See id. The recoupment debt was referred to the U.S. Department of Treasury, who enforced the debt through a garnishment of plaintiff's wages. See id. at 3.

         On February 23, 2018, plaintiff filed an amended complaint alleging that DOI terminated him and recouped its relocation payments because of plaintiff's non-Cajun national origin. See Rec. Doc. 3. Plaintiff seeks, inter alia, monetary damages in the amount of $10, 399, 133.00. See Rec. Doc. 3-2 at 1-3.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). See also TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James of Wash., 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002). A genuine issue of material fact exists if the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The court should view all facts and evidence in the light most favorable to the non- moving party. United Fire & Cas. Co. v. Hixson Bros. Inc., 453 F.3d 283, 285 (5th Cir. 2006). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Mere conclusory allegations are insufficient to defeat summary judgment. Eason v. Thaler, 73 F.3d 1322, 1325 (5th Cir. 1996).

         The movant must point to “portions of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. If and when the movant carries this burden, the non-movant must then go beyond the pleadings and present other evidence to establish a genuine issue. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). However, “where the non-movant bears the burden of proof at trial, the movant may merely point to an absence of evidence, thus shifting to the non-movant the burden of demonstrating by competent summary judgment proof that there is an issue of material fact warranting trial.” Lindsey v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 16 F.3d 616, 618 (5th Cir. 1994). “This court will not assume in the absence of any proof that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts, and will grant summary judgment in any case where critical evidence is so weak or tenuous on an essential fact that it could not support a judgment in favor of the [non-movant].” McCarty v. Hillstone Rest. Grp., 864 F.3d 354, 357 (5th Cir. 2017).

         B. Instant Motion for ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.